Was Queen Elizabeth II Allowed to Marry a Commoner?

If there is one thing that the British Royal Family is known for, it’s their copious amounts of rules. From the ways in which they greet people, to the line of secession, to the words they can use around the queen, the royals like things to be done in a certain manner and that includes marriage.

Queen Elizabeth married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on November 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey. Though the two were in love, they were also a suitable match and third cousins through Queen Victoria. The pair had met almost a decade earlier when they began exchanging letters with one another. However, had the queen fallen in love with someone who was not of her regal status, like her uncle King Edward who abdicated the crown to marry American socialite Wallis Sampson, or her sister Princess Margaret who desperately wanted to marry Captain Peter Townsend, a navy man and her father’s equerry, it would have been forbidden.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip | Fiona Hanson/AFP/Getty Images

The marriage that changed it all

In fact, the rules about keeping the royal bloodline regal did not falter until after the demise of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage in 1996. The couple was so miserable together that in the end, after a slew of affairs, embarrassing interviews, and everything in between Queen Elizabeth II ordered their divorce. She wanted to put everyone out of their misery. After centuries, the British Royal Family realized they couldn’t force people into loveless marriages and expect them to thrive.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L), and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Prince William and Kate Middleton | Peter Nicholls/AFP/Getty Images

Middleton Mania

When Duchess Kate Middleton married Prince William, the future King of England on April 29, 2011, she was the first “commoner” to marry a future English king in 450 years. Before the Duchess of Cambridge, it was commoner, Anne Hyde who married James I in 1660.  Middleton and the prince were college sweethearts, and she’d won the hearts of people around the world as the gorgeous girl next door who was constantly at Prince William’s side.

After seeing what her son, Prince Charles had gone through and the happiness that he found after finally marrying his long-time love, Camilla Parker Bowles, Queen Elizabeth granted her permission for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to marry.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex make an official visit to the Joff Youth Centre in Peacehaven, Sussex

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry | Chris Jackson/ Getty Images

The Magic of Meghan

When Prince Harry started dating and eventually became engaged to Meghan Markle, it was clear that old royal rules about not marrying commoners were officially history. The union between Markle and Prince Harry might be the most modern in British Royal Family history. However, without Prince Charles and Prince William defying commoner rules, we never would have been able to experience the magic of Meghan. Markle is not only a former actress — a fairly controversial occupation for a member of the royal family, she is also half-Black and a divorcee. And yet, the Suits alum won over the hearts of the public; the mother-to-be has also impressed her grandmother-in-law and other members of the royal family with her intelligence and wit.

Though Queen Elizabeth II would have never been able to marry a commoner, with so much joy and love that both Duchess Kate Middleton and Duchess Meghan Markle have brought to the royal family and the world, we’re pleased that dumb rule in officially in the trash.